Coelho: “After the World Cup Final, I was not allowed a single mistake”

At Friday 31 May’s conclusion of the FIFA Seminar for the referees shortlisted as candidates for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a seminar which has taken place in Rio de Janeiro, there was a meeting between two generations of top-class officials. On the one side was FIFA Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca, who officiated at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 while, on the other, was Arnaldo Cezar Coelho who, at Spain 1982, became the first South American to referee a FIFA World Cup Final.
The Brazilian, who also officiated at Argentina 1978, brought with him a very special memento: the ball used in the Final of Spain 1982 and which was signed by the players of finalists Italy and Germany. “It’s a great pleasure and an honour to have Arnaldo Cezar Coelho here with us as we bring our seminar to a close,” said Busacca. “He’s shown that he’s still very passionate about football and refereeing, and that’s something we discussed with the referees here,” he continued. “The FIFA World Cup is an opportunity that needs to be taken full advantage of. On the pitch you must stay focused in order to do a great job. Later, when you’re back at your hotel, don’t miss the chance to savour the tournament, the atmosphere generated by the fans and the culture of the country you’re in." Cezar Coelho, for his part, spoke about the differences between refereeing now and in his day. According to the former official, in addition to the level of physical preparation required, rule changes and technological developments have made a referee’s job much more gruelling. “In my day a referee would run about six kilometres, whereas nowadays they’ll run over ten,” said Cezar Coelho. “Now there are several balls all around the outside of the pitch, whereas there used to only be one. Besides which, the rule changes regarding passing the ball back to goalkeepers and reducing the time keepers can hold the ball in their hands have both meant that the ball is now in play for longer. Football has become much more dynamic. Because of all that, a referee’s positioning out on the pitch is vital”.
Those referees taking part in the seminar also had the chance to ask the Brazilian questions. One of those was about the impact his refereeing the Final of Spain 1982 had on his career, with Cezar Coelho stating that it had placed a greater responsibility on his shoulders. “When I got back to Brazil [after Spain 1982], I felt like someone who has just won the lottery but doesn’t know what to do with the money,” he said. “Refereeing the Final was the dream for every referee [at the competition], but only one can do so. My career continued for seven more years after that but, from then on, it was as if I wasn’t allowed to make a single mistake, not even getting a throw-in wrong. But I prepared really well ahead of that FIFA World Cup,” he continued. “That’s why, when I was chosen for the Final, I fully believed that I was there on merit and that I’d put in a great performance. I can only be grateful for getting that opportunity, for what football and this ball gave me,” he added, pointing to the Spain 1982 Final ball, on the table beside him.
On the other side of the table and facing an audience from which the referee for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final will come, Busacca underlined the importance of this week of training during the seminar in Rio. The Swiss also gave his view that the group of officials make up another of the teams taking part in the competition. “We’re all on the same team, we’re like a national squad,” said the FIFA Head of Refereeing. “That’s why our main message was the search for consistency and uniformity. Football is quicker now and many goals come from counter-attacks, so referees need to be able to keep up with play, to be well-positioned and to make the right decisions. You have to be strong not just physically but mentally too,” he concluded. “This seminar was very important in helping us achieve that. We’ve had a great week in Rio de Janeiro, with perfect facilities and conditions for the referees to work in. All that’s left is to say thank you to everyone involved”.

Source: FIFA

Leonardo suspended for 9 months for pushing referee

Paris St Germain sporting director Leonardo has been banned for nine months for pushing a referee, the French League (LFP) said on Thursday. Television footage showed Brazilian Leonardo bumping into referee Alexandre Castro with his left shoulder in the Parc des Princes tunnel after PSG drew 1-1 with Valenciennes in Ligue 1 this month.
"The (disciplinary) committee handed him a nine-month ban", the LFP said in a statement, adding that Leonardo was banned from the bench, the referees' dressing room and from all official functions. Ligue 1 champions PSG were also handed a suspended three-point deduction over the incident for the next season. Leonardo, whose suspension runs from May 8, had denied pushing the referee, saying he was shoved towards Castro by the match delegate. "The committee's task was to decide whether the shoulder barge was intentional", committee president Pascal Garibian told a news conference. "The commission retained this idea. The commission judges acts, players, and people independently of a club's notoriety". Leonardo, the former Inter and AC Milan manager, received a two-match suspended ban in November from the French federation's Ethics Committee for criticising the referee after Mamadou Sakho was sent off in a league game at Montpellier. Leonardo's latest suspension is a huge blow for PSG, who are reportedly seeking a replacement for Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti who has said he wants to leave the club. Leonardo would be on the short-list to replace Ancelotti who is under contract with PSG until June 2014.

Source: Yahoo Sports

Fitness problems for South American referees

The Zico Football Centre in Rio de Janeiro will host a very important team during the FIFA Confederations Cup this June and next year’s FIFA World Cup. The referees will use the venue as their base camp training site for the daily physical and tactical match preparations.
The Local Organising Committee and Arthur Antunes Coimbra, known worldwide as Zico, signed a contract for the use of the Football Center of Brazil’s football icon that starred in the FIFA World Cup in 1978, 1982 and 1986. The 52 referee candidates for the 2014 FIFA World Cup are currently attending a comprehensive preparation seminar in Rio de Janeiro (26-31 May) and already held today their first training sessions at the Zico Football Centre or, as it is called in Brazil, Centro de Futebol Zico. “As for the teams the referees have to undergo a thorough qualification process. For us it is the most important to have the strongest line-up and as such we must provide the best facilities for our referees to ensure that their performance will be at their best. We are very pleased that Zico is providing us his facilities and also for his support to our team. It is a fantastic infrastructure and the referees are very pleased”, said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Head of Refereeing and former two-times FIFA World Cup referee. “The engagement of such an important sport personality as Zico is of major relevance for the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. Zico Football Center is a high standard football ground and its use will be of great importance for the preparation of the referees”, explained Ricardo Trade, CEO of the Local Organising Committee. “It is an honour to have our football centre as the training site for the referees who will officiate at the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. Our club is modest but we have a very good structure and there is nothing alike in Rio de Janeiro. I have always had a good relation with the referees as a player and I know the importance of these activities so they can do their job in the best possible way”, said Zico. To conclude the preparation seminar, former two-time FIFA World Cup referee Massimo Busacca and Arnaldo Cezar Coelho, match official at the 1982 FIFA World Cup final, will talk on Friday, 31 May 2013, about the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the changes in the world of refereeing since 1982. (Source: FIFA)
According to Arbitro Internacional, 9 out of 12 prospective referees from CONMEBOL failed yesterday the yo-yo test: Diego Abal (ARG), Antonio Arias (PAR), Victor Carrillo (PER), Heber Lopes (BRA), Raul Orosco (BOL), Sandro Ricci (BRA), Juan Soto (VEN), Martin Vazquez (URU) and Carlos Vera (ECU), while Enrique Osses (CHI), Nestor Pitana (ARG) and Wilmar Roldan (COL) passed it. However, the yo-yo test is not the official FIFA fitness test, being only used for training purposes.

Copa Libertadores – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

28 May 2013
Santa Fe – Real Garcilaso

Referee: Diego Lara (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Alvarado (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Herrera (ECU)
Fourth Official: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Referee Observer: Pablo Montoya (COL)

29 May 2013
Olimpia – Fluminense
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Fourth Official: Fernando Falce (URU)
Referee Observer: Carlos Alarcon (URU)

Newells Old Boys – Boca Juniors
Referee: German Delfino (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivan Nunez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ernesto Uziga (ARG)
Fourth Official: Diego Ceballos (ARG)
Referee Observer: Jose Pollini (ARG)

30 May 2013
Atletico Mineiro – Tijuana

Referee: Patricio Polic (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Maturana (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Referee Observer: Salvio Fagundes (BRA)

FIFA World Cup referee seminar begins in Rio

With the arrival of the last members on Sunday, the team of 52 referees who are shortlisted as candidates for the 2014 FIFA World Cup started their work in Rio de Janeiro at the first preparation seminar on Brazilian soil. The seminar marks another major milestone on the road to the FIFA World Cup for the referees which started in September 2012 in Zurich. Coming from 46 different countries, the referees will undergo a series of theoretical meetings, clinical evaluations and physical activities, until 31 May, with the help and support of the FIFA Referees instructors and many other professionals from various different areas, such as medical, technological, physiotherapy, communications and administration.
The opening ceremony and presentation took place this Sunday morning, which involved the FIFA Head of Refereeing and former referee, Massimo Busacca, a former two-time FIFA World Cup referee. "We are now at the final stage, the most intense part of this process which will lead us to the FIFA World Cup 2014," Busacca explained. "Here you have everyone playing football, everywhere and at any time of the day! That is why, with that passion in the air, with that energy, I want the referees to breathe football, to eat football. You are the best of the best for referees around the world. And you will be demanded to be the best also on the pitch, during the FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup." Representing the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), the CEO and Director of Operations, Ricardo Trade, welcomed the international referees, saying: "Brazil is in a new era. In all areas, we are experiencing a new moment. We are creating a new standard to have the best quality pitches in all stadia, where the referees may have the best conditions to develop their work." Trade, who personally came to meet the referees before leaving for Brasilia, for a test event at the Estadio Nacional Brasilia Mane Garrincha, said: "We have the honor to innovate in this Confederations Cup, as there will be Goal Line Technology in our stadiums, and in order for the mechanism to function at the best possible way, we at the LOC, are making our most, all the necessary, in order to have the referees able to develop the necessary conditions to take their decision on the pitch, in the best possible way." Bebeto, also a member of the LOC, was clearly touched when he was applauded by all the referees, and told the public some details of his career as a striker for the Brazil national team. "I welcome each and everyone of you with opened arms, as friends and as the most important visitors in my country," Bebeto said. "I always had an excellent relationship with referees, always tried to be an example on the pitch and outside of it. I and Ronaldo, who is with me working for the LOC, are doing all we can to secure that the pitches at those FIFA competitions in Brazil are as perfect as possible. "And with your collaboration, the FIFA Confederations Cup will be an amazing open invitation, an aperitif of what will happen during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I wish you success, and be sure that you are so very important: you are vital for the development of a good football match." The closing speech of the day, came from Ron DelMont, Managing Director of the FIFA World Cup Office in Brazil. "The referees that are here in Brazil, today, are the symbol of passion and talent, of how serious we all have to be, and the ability, of those professionals that will take such important part at those FIFA competitions in Brazil, making it a great football event. We will try our very best to allow you to have all the necessary conditions to manage the matches on the pitch. And we, the managers outside the field, have to do exactly as you do on the pitch. We have to be focused, we have to be in control, we have to disconnect from events around us and we have to deliver the best result possible. You are the managers on the field and I wish you all the very best success in our duties in Brazil." Ten referees among those who are in Brazil have already been chosen to work during the FIFA Confederations Cup in June.

Source: FIFA

Rizzoli: “Refereeing the UCL final moved me to tears”

The UEFA Champions League final referee Nicola Rizzoli has admitted to crying after the game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The Bavarians triumphed 2-1 at Wembley to seal their fifth European title and the Italian referee has revealed his emotions. “It happened after the game”, the 41-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was alone, I looked at the stadium and all the fans cheering, even Dortmund's. The match was calm and the players were really fair helping me to fade from the spotlight; I only whistled 17 fouls. After the match, I was moved to tears. I thought I had done well, but I wanted to wait for Collina's judgement. If I had done something wrong, I would have been disappointed and, because I grew up with Collina, it would have been even harder. So, when he entered the dressing room, I held my breath. He looked at me for a couple of seconds and there was silence. Then he said: well done, well done, everyone!”
 - You have frequently applied the advantage.
- Stopping an action is often a pity; football is nice especially when it’s fluent, without interruptions. A referee has not always this chance, but in this match I noticed that it was possible.
- But why is it different in Serie A?- It’s a problem of culture. When Italian teams play in UEFA competitions, they also change their styles, focusing on the respect for the opponent. A player knows that a red card might lead to a suspension of several matches, so he is careful. There aren’t exaggerated complaints. Everything is easy.
- Are you saying that a UCL final is easier than a Serie A match?- Yes, it’s true. Of course, we cannot compare the importance and the pressure of this final with other matches, even in Serie A, where I have more difficulties from a technical point of view.
- Other memories from “your” Wembley final?- At the end of the game, Robben told me: “You deserved this final and you were really good”. I am quite able to play football, but sometimes I envy those players; they are really champions. Robben, Schweinsteiger and Reus were my favourite players in this final.
- What was the most difficult decision in this match?- The penalty kick awarded to Borussia; even thogh it can appear clear on TV, it wasn’t. I did not have a free view, Reus was obstructing me. I was able to understand the situation thank also to my experience.
- Klopp asked for the second yellow card to Dante.- To be honest, he congratulated me. Anyway, I understand that we can discuss about this situation. It appeared to me as an unintentional foul. It was negligence by Dante and, according to the rules, this is not a yellow card. You must issue a second yellow card only when you are really sure. Some people say that when you whistle a penalty, the card is mandatory. It is a stupid and false sentence. Furthermore, the action did not appear to me as a promising attack for Borussia.
- What about the situation in the first half between Ribery and Lewandowski?- Yes, I could have booked them, but in those cases the referee must calm down the players, not exasperate them. It’s always a better choice. They immediately had a clarification and nothing happened. In the second half it was different; therefore, I cautioned Ribery and Grosskreutz.
- The first goal scored by Bayern was an excellent decision due to an onside position very difficult to see.- Yes, thank to this man here, near me. (Rizzoli points to his AR) Faverani: “I have to admit that I was lucky. I was focused on Mandzukic, he was in offside. Ribery decided to pass the ball to Robben, at first he also appeared to me offside, but I waited because I evaluated the speed of the action and I thought that he was in a regular position. And that was correct, I decided by intuition”.
- What are your next goals?- 200 matches in Serie A and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
- A long time has passed since you started as a referee.- Yes, and I would like to meet again a man who 25 years ago said to me: “You cannot referee; you are not able to do that. I know important people in our association (AIA) and will make you stop refereeing”.

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport

Rizzoli prepared for Wembley experience

Nicola Rizzoli will be unable to repeat his usual mantra ahead of Saturday's game between Bayern Munchen and Borussia Dortmund. "Approach it as if it were the final of the UEFA Champions League", the Italian referee always says to himself before a match. This time, however, he really will be handling the top club fixture in world football. The 41-year-old architect from Bologna is no stranger to the big occasion: he officiated at the inaugural UEFA Europa League final in 2010, an experience that he believes will help him at Wembley. "Absolutely, yes", he told "Finals are always special".
- How does it feel to have been selected for such a prestigious match?
- I feel very proud, I am proud of what we have done and achieved on this long road to the final. It's the most important match at European level, and if I look back at the 24 years of my refereeing career, it's unbelievable to have made it to this point now.
- How do you prepare mentally for such an occasion?
- The same preparation applies for all matches, basically. I have always said, in all the matches I have refereed, even at youth level, that I have to approach it as if it were the final of the Champions League. And this coming Saturday I really will referee the Champions League final. It's motivation for me to prepare even better mentally.
- Can your experience of refereeing the 2010 UEFA Europa League final help at Wembley?
- Absolutely, yes. Finals are always special matches – they are not like other games, although they should be – but the experience you gain in a match like that helps you a lot to understand how to handle the special tensions that are normal in a final.
- What will you do in order for you and your team to enjoy the experience?
- Trying to enjoy it is not always easy – concentrating makes you so careful about details, which can help you better evaluate certain situations, that you lose the real context. From when we come out of the tunnel until the moment we start the match, we must enjoy the spectacle and the event. We must look at the spectators, fans and supporters, all the beautiful things that football offers, and all the passion you can feel, because I'm sure that during the match we will be so focused and mindful of what is happening on the pitch.
- Two German teams are in the final. Have you talked about this to any of your German colleagues?
- Getting information is the most important thing when preparing for a match like this. I had already spoken to some German colleagues before it was known who would be refereeing the final, because I like to get information when I meet other officials. Of course, today we are lucky to be able to get all the information we want off the internet, so the teams have been studied and analysed.
- How important is it to know how the teams play tactically?
- It's fundamental, because it's the only way not to be taken by surprise. Knowing beforehand what could happen and having that information can help you anticipate certain situations. If you are taken by surprise in a situation then it can become difficult to judge in a correct way.
- What kind of match do you expect?
- It will be a game between two excellent teams who are both very physical, but at the same time involving coaches who make their sides play tactically very well. They each have coaches who know how to get the best out of their players, so I expect them to all play at the highest level, which will create a great spectacle.
- Does the fact it is at Wembley make the final more special?
- Wembley represents the history of football, even if it has been rebuilt and restructured. You breathe the history and the passion, just pure football. That is what I hope to feel when I'm in the dressing room and when we come out of the tunnel.
- And lastly, how would you like to be remembered after the final?
- I don't really want to be remembered. I hope they will just remember me when they read the name of the match referee. The stars are – and should be – the players. Don't remember me, that would be better.

Source: UEFA

Increased payments for referees in Bundesliga

The payment of referees in German professional football will be increased again for the season 2013/2014. DFB announced the new referee salaries after a meeting with representatives of the German Football League (DFL) and the referees in Frankfurt. In 2012, DFB had introduced a basic amount for the referees, independent of the number of their match appointments. Specifically, that means that Elite referees Felix Brych and Wolfgang Stark will now receive a fixed amount of 60,000 euro instead of the current 40,000 per season. This amount will gradually increase until the season 2016/2017, when it will be 75,000 euro. For their colleagues who referee at the international level or for at least five years in the Bundesliga, the salary is being increased to 50,000 euro instead of 30,000 euro and that amount will go to 65,000 euro in 2016/2017. For all other Bundesliga referees, the current salary of 20,000 euro will increase to 40,000 euro and later to 55,000 euro. The Bundesliga 2 referees, who previously received 15,000 euro, will earn 25,000 euro in the next season and 35,000 euro in 2016/2017. Match fees will remain the same: 3,800 euro in Bundesliga and 2,000 euro in 2.Bundesliga. “By increasing the basic amount for referees, the German Football League (DFL) and German Football Association (DFB) made another important step in the professionalization of referees”. Almost all of the first and second Bundesliga referees would have reduced working hours in their other profession and will have more time to invest in their football-related activities. "Therefore, it is a question of expenses, which will be financially compensated accordingly", said Knut Kircher, the German "Referee of the Year 2011/2012". The referees will work 30 to 40 hours per week. “This financial scheme allows referees to continue our task independently, flexibly and also to meet professional demands", said FIFA referee Florian Meyer (photo). The DFB decided last year to introduce the basic amount for referees, but not professional referees, as repeatedly requested by FIFA, considering that it is better to pay referees and at the same time to get them job flexibility. "The demands on our top referees are getting higher. Therefore, it is the common goal of DFB and League, to offer them a professional environment in order to optimally prepare for their tough task and can concentrate on the game. We adapted our approach to the economic situation of the referees in other major European leagues, such as Spain and Italy", said DFB President, Wolfgang Niersbach.
In the upcoming season, there will be 22 referees in Bundesliga and 20 referees will be used in the second division, but no additional assistant referees in Germany. "The DFB and the German football league are for the introduction of the goal-line technology. But that will not happen before the 2013/14 season", said Niersbach. He made ​​it clear that the DFB will introduce the technology in the future. "We agreed with our referees that we, unlike UEFA, will not use additional assistant referees", he said. However, Niersbach does not anticipate that the goal-line technology will be used in the DFB Cup because it is too expensive for amateur clubs.

Sources: DPA/ Kicker

Third seminar for prospective referees FIFA World Cup 2014

FIFA invited 52 prospective referees to attend the third seminar for the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), from 25 to 31 May 2013. There are two changes since the previous seminars took place, last month, in each confederation. Ali Albadwawi (UAE) and Khalil Al-Ghamdi (KSA) seem to be injured and will not attend this seminar, leaving only five referees on the AFC list. FIFA added two more South American referees, Heber Lopes (BRA) and Nestor Pitana (ARG), probably as reserves for Sandro Ricci (BRA) and Diego Abal (ARG). On the other hand, Nicola Rizzoli (ITA), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) and Damir Skomina (SVN) will miss the first two days of this seminar since they will be involved in the UEFA Champions League final scheduled for 25 May 2013 in London (England).
1. Alireza Faghani (IRN, 1978)
2. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB, 1977)
3. Yuichi Nishimura (JPN, 1972)
4. Nawaf Shukralla (BAH, 1976)
5. Benjamin Williams (AUS, 1977)

1. Neant Alioum (CMR, 1982)
2. Daniel Bennett (RSA, 1976)
3. Badara Diatta (SEN, 1969)
4. Noumandiez Doue (CIV, 1970)
5. Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
6. Djamel Haimoudi (ALG, 1970) 

7. Slim Jedidi (TUN, 1970)

1. Joel Aguilar (SLV, 1975)
2. Roberto Garcia (MEX, 1974)
3. Mark Geiger (USA, 1974)
4. Walter Lopez (GUA, 1980)
5. Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)
6. Roberto Moreno (PAN, 1970)
7. Marco Rodriguez (MEX, 1973)

1. Diego Abal (ARG, 1971)
2. Antonio Arias (PAR, 1972)
3. Victor Carrillo (PER, 1975)
4. Heber Lopes (BRA, 1972)
5. Raul Orosco (BOL, 1979)
6. Enrique Osses (CHI, 1974)
7. Nestor Pitana (ARG, 1975)
8. Sandro Ricci (BRA, 1974)
9. Wilmar Roldan (COL, 1980)
10. Juan Soto (VEN, 1977)
11. Martin Vazquez (URU, 1971)
12. Carlos Vera (ECU, 1976)

1. Norbert Hauata (TAH, 1979)
2. Peter O’Leary (NZL, 1972)

1. Felix Brych (GER, 1975)
2. Cuneyt Cakir (TUR, 1976)
3. Mark Clattenburg (ENG, 1975)
4. Jonas Eriksson (SWE, 1974)
5. Viktor Kassai (HUN, 1975)
6. Pavel Kralovec (CZE, 1977)
7. Bjorn Kuipers (NED, 1973)
8. Stephane Lannoy (FRA, 1969)
9. Milorad Mazic (SRB, 1973)
10. Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR, 1979)
11. Pedro Proenca Oliveira (POR, 1970)
12. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA, 1971)
13. Gianluca Rocchi (ITA, 1973)
14. Damir Skomina (SVN, 1976)
15. Wolfgang Stark (GER, 1969)
16. Craig Thomson (SCO, 1972)
17. Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP, 1973)
18. Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP, 1971)
19. Howard Webb (ENG, 1971)

Copa Libertadores – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

22 May 2013
Real Garcilaso – Santa Fe
Referee: Leandro Vuaden (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Altemir Hausmann (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Fourth Official: Francisco Nascimento (BRA)
Referee Observer: Victor Rivera (PER)

Fluminense – Olimpia

Referee: Roberto Silvera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Changala (URU)
Fourth Official: Andres Cunha (URU)
Referee Observer: Sergio Correa (BRA)

23 May 2013
Tijuana – Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Jose Buitrago (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Berrio (COL)

Fourth Official: Adrian Velez (COL)
Referee Observer: Mauricio Morales (MEX)

Boca Juniors – Newells Old Boys

Referee: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

UEFA Champions League Final 2013: Rizzoli (ITA)

Nicola Rizzoli has been named referee for the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen. The 41-year-old Italian, who has been an international referee since 2007, was selected by the UEFA Referees Committee to oversee Saturday's match at Wembley. He took charge of the inaugural UEFA Europa League final in 2010 in Hamburg, where Club Atletico de Madrid beat Fulham FC 2-1 in extra time, and also officiated three matches at UEFA EURO 2012. In total, Rizzoli has presided over 26 UEFA Champions League games, four of them this season, including the round of 16 second leg between Malaga CF and FC Porto. At the final in London, Rizzoli will be assisted by his fellow countrymen Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani. The fourth official will be Damir Skomina from Slovenia and the two additional assistant referees, Gianluca Rocchi and Paolo Tagliavento, are from Italy. An Italian reserve assistant referee, Gianluca Cariolato, completes the refereeing team lineup. (Source: UEFA)

25 May 2013
Borussia Dortmund – Bayern Munchen
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Renato Faverani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Stefani (ITA)
Additional AR1: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Additional AR2: Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
Fourth Official: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Reserve AR: Gianluca Cariolato (ITA)
Referee Observer: David Elleray (ENG)

OFC Champions League Final 2013: O’Leary (NZL)

19 May 2013

Auckland City – Waitakere United
Referee: Peter O’Leary (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Hintz (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ravinesh Kumar (FIJ)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH)

First seminar for prospective referees FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

The road to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 is gradually getting under way, both for the teams aiming to qualify and for the female referees. Potential candidates for the biggest tournament in the women's game, to be held in Canada, are meeting this week in Zurich for the first time, with 40 women from 33 different countries taking part in the week-long referees' seminar.
"This is an incredibly important seminar", Sonia Denoncourt, Head of Women's Referees at FIFA, explained to "It is the first real step towards choosing candidates for the Women's World Cup 2015 in Canada. The event is two-and-a-half years away and we are starting off with a large group of female referees. We'll be testing them and then selecting the best at the end". The 40 candidates were officially welcomed by FIFA President Joseph Blatter “I would like to congratulate you on being selected for the Referees project for the World Cup in Canada in 2015”, said Blatter. “The preparations ahead of the tournament are incredibly important”. The FIFA President thanked the various referees for their work they had put in on behalf of football so far and wished them all the very best in their preparations for Canada 2015: “You dedicate a significant part of your lives to football, a game of self-discipline and respect, and one that represents a battle where fair play must reign. And you are the ones who oversee these games”. Some tough hours lie in store for the candidates. After extensive medical tests to begin with, the programme will then concentrate on fitness, training sessions, medical information, theoretical aspects, and match analysis over the following days.
Medicine, technique and fitness
"The seminar consists of three important parts, namely the medical, technical and fitness aspects", Denoncourt continued. The technical aspect is all about knowing the rules and regulations, and practical exercises and video analysis of matches will be used to train and test the women on how to use this knowledge correctly. "We have technical meetings in which we analyse games", Denoncourt added, "and we also simulate games and get the referees to make decisions". The referees also get an insight into subjects such as physical fitness and diet, as well as how to avoid injuries, all under the expert guidance of Denoncourt. "Fitness is particularly important", she stressed, "and testing it shows us a lot. We can see how well they prepare, how seriously they take it and how they deal with injuries, all of which are critical". The mental aspect is also covered with as much detail as the technical side. There is enormous pressure on the referees due to their roles and responsibilities, and devising individual strategies to develop the mental strength should help the participants to deal with challenging situations. "The main quality of a good referee is being technically adept enough to make critical decisions, and that's what we're aiming for", continued Denocourt. "Their performances are based on their ability to manage a game and make decisions, and to do this, they need to be healthy, stable and mentally well prepared. It's a complete package", she added. The candidates will have plenty of time to convince the FIFA Refereeing Department and the members of the Referees Committee of their skills before the final selection is made for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015, being held from 6 June – 5 July. Between now and then, there are three major women's football tournaments on the calendar, namely the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2014 in Costa Rica, the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 in Canada and the Women's Youth Olympic Football Tournament, also being held in 2014, in Nanjing.

Source: FIFA

UEFA U-17 Euro Final 2013: Sidiropoulos (GRE)

Taking charge of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final on Friday, Anastasios Sidiropoulos is all set for the most "important game" of his career. The 33-year-old native of Rhodes has been refereeing for 12 years, and has been in the middle for Greek Super League games since 2009. After relishing his time in Slovakia, Sidiropoulos is hoping this is the first step on the road to UEFA Champions League, UEFA Euro and FIFA World Cup finals.
- Are you looking forward to Friday's final?
- I am looking forward to kick-off. It is a great feeling knowing that in a few hours I will be the referee of the European U17 final.
- What does it mean to you to take charge of the showpiece?
- It is an honour to be selected. It feels good because you know that all the hard work you put in to get here finally pays off and you can reap the rewards.
- Tell us about the team who will be supporting you during the final.
- I will have the full support of my team, made up of assistant referees Dejan Kostadinov from Macedonia and Richard Storey from Northern Ireland, as well as my fourth official Ivaylo Stoyanov from Bulgaria. During the tournament we have had excellent cooperation on and off the field and all of them are experienced international officials, who have been officiating at the top level in their own countries.
- Is this an important step in your career?
- It is another step forward. It is definitely the most important game in my refereeing career so far, and an opportunity to prove to my mentors that I can successfully take such an important match. The fact that I am the referee for the final is not only an honour for me, but also for the Hellenic Football Federation, my family and to all the people who support me in every step of my refereeing career.
- What has it been like to be part of the refereeing team at this competition?
- It has been an excellent experience. I met people from 15 different countries and I learned a lot from my colleagues. We really had a very good team in this tournament and it is a privilege that I have had the chance to cooperate with them.
- What are your aspirations as a referee?
- My ambition is to take part in major tournaments and competitions such as the Champions League and the European finals.
- Who are your heroes, both footballing and refereeing?
- I admire skillful football players with the best sporting behaviour and respect for the game. My refereeing model is a former elite referee and now member of UEFA's Referees' Committee, Kyros Vassaras, who has taken charge of many important competitions such as the Champions League, World Cup, Euro and Olympic Games. He always helps referees and he always says his aim is to help Greek referees achieve even more than he did.
- What is your method and philosophy for refereeing games at U17 level?
- At this level you must be not only a referee but also an educator to these young players. They play with passion and they are physically strong so sometimes they overreact. This is the right time to intervene, with calmness and having good knowledge of the psychology of young players, and help them understand that football is just a game and that we have to respect each other.
- Tell us about the support which is provided by UEFA?
- I honestly cannot believe how lucky we have been with the support of the three UEFA Referees' Committee members, Kyros Vassaras, Jozef Marko and Nikolai Levnikov in this final tournament. They advise and communicate through technical instruction meetings and practical training sessions throughout the tournament, and have been invaluable and will help us for our forward development.
- How has the experience of Slovakia been?
- What an experience! It is such a beautiful country. The hospitality has been excellent end everybody has been very friendly to us all. Also, the organisation has been amazing and it is obvious that football is such a passionate sport in this country as attendances have been fantastic. (Source: UEFA)
17 May 2013  
Italy – Russia
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Storey (NIR)
Fourth Official: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)

Ninth team shines in Slovakia

As they take their first steps on the ladder, the nurturing of the referees and assistants at the U17 finals in Slovakia is as crucial for the future of European football as that of the players. With the focus on the eight national sides at the 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, many people have missed the presence of a ninth team at the tournament in Slovakia. Though the team of referees and assistants will not be lifting a trophy come 17 May, their development on this stage is just as important for the future of European football as that of the players.
Kyros Vassaras is a member of the UEFA Referees Committee and is at the tournament to monitor and advise the young referees, who are all taking part in their first final round. "The referees can be compared to the young players in the teams", said Vassaras. "They have shown lots of potential. They are young and have been selected because of their performances so far. This is their first final tournament, so it is very important in their career development". This is no holiday for the group of officials, who are always striving to ensure the highest of physical standards. "We act like a real football team. We have training every day, we do practical exercises on the field, and all the referees are monitored by a fitness coach and his assistants", said Vassaras. And just like a football team, the referees work just as hard off the pitch as they do on it, analysing matches and past performances, while being given advice by two committee members, Jozef Marko and Nikolai Levnikov, who are acting as UEFA observers alongside the experienced observer Jan Fasung. "After the match, we analyse the situations which arose with the referee, then we have a group DVD match analysis, so everybody can learn from the other matches. We find this improves the performance". There is a clear message being communicated to the teams, and Vassaras emphasises the three core values which guide new referees. "The priority is to protect the safety of the players – from violent conduct, from serious foul play – and the second task is to protect the image of football. Things like simulation, confrontations and unsporting behaviour do not give the correct image. And the third is to protect the image of refereeing. We let the players know there will be zero tolerance to dissent, or anything that could undermine the authority of the referee". For the referees in Slovakia, this is just the first step on the way to taking charge of the biggest games on the planet, and they will be treading a well-worn path as they make their way to the top. "All the top referees started at tournaments like this", said Vassaras. "Everyone on the UEFA list. If they continue to work hard and improve, they will go from here and maybe next it will be U19 and U21 events, then eventually the Euro and the highest UEFA competitions such as the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League".

Source: UEFA

Kuipers: “Collina called me at the beach”

When Bjorn Kuipers blows his whistle to start Wednesday's 2013 UEFA Europa League final he will become the first referee to officiate at a showpiece on home turf in 22 years, since Italy's Tullio Lanese oversaw the 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup final in Bari. The 40-year-old tells why it is an honour he must share with many, how well he knows the Amsterdam ArenA and how a run on a windswept Dutch beach was more enjoyable than it sounds.
- Congratulations, how does it feel to be refereeing such an important game?
- It feels good. I was very happy to get the appointment to do the Europa League final. And it's in my own country so it's great. I was very surprised because I was thinking it was not possible to have a referee from the country where the final is. But this is very special as it's in Holland, but even just doing a final is very special. I was at the beach when I got the call. I was doing some training on the coast of Holland, and Pierluigi Collina was calling me. I was very proud. I was happy for my team, happy to give them the news that we had the final. I was also thinking about the people who helped me to reach this: my coaches, the people at UEFA, the people at the Dutch FA, my team. It's been hard work, but we got some bonus.
- Could we speak a bit about Amsterdam ArenA. What do you think makes it such a special stadium?
- I know the stadium very well. I have refereed here many, many times for Ajax, and it's great. Amsterdam is a great city to have this final here. The stadium is great and it's sold out. The facilities are great so we are ready for a very nice evening.
- What does it feel like when you walk out of that tunnel onto this pitch, with the teams behind you and the crowd cheering?
- That's always a special moment. When I was a young referee, I never thought about elite refereeing – it was my hobby. So you can see how it goes, how fast you can progress. When I go out, with the teams behind me and the music playing, it's a great feeling, great.
- How do you prepare for such a big game?
- We have been preparing for a long time. It's never just about one day. If we get an appointment we clear our schedules. Last Friday we had the debriefing for the Dortmund-Real Madrid match. We brought the team together and analysed everything in our matches: what we did well, what we did not and what we can improve. We do it every match. We prepare in everything: fitness, we analyse the teams and we analyse our previous matches. It's not a one-hour job; it takes a long time to prepare for a match like this. And I always say it is not all about me. I am the referee and the end responsibility is mine, but I never act alone. I need my team, I need everyone around me. I am very happy with my team – we have performed very well over the past year.
- You were in charge of the 2011 UEFA Super Cup. Is it any different when you're walking out onto the pitch as the referee in a final as opposed to a regular game?
- Yes, of course, a final is a final. Every match is important but to handle a final is great. But I'm not officiating any differently to how I do another match: it is still a game between two teams. The referee team is the third team. We are prepared and I hope we will handle the match very well. You will see tonight.

Source: UEFA

Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 (Second Leg)

14 May 2013
Palmeiras – Tijuana
Referee: Juan Soto (VEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)

Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jose Argote (VEN)
Referee Observer: Ednilson Corona (BRA)

15 May 2013
Velez Sarsfield – Newells Old Boys

Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Fourth Official: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

Corinthians – Boca Juniors

Referee: Carlos Amarilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Caceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Referee Observer: Aristeu Tavares (PAR)

16 May 2013
Olimpia – Tigre

Referee: Dario Ubriaco (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Fourth Official: Fernando Falce (URU)
Referee Observer: Ubaldo Aquino (URU)

Santa Fe – Gremio

Referee: Roberto Silvera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Costa (URU)
Fourth Official: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Referee Observer: Otalvaro Polanco (URU)

UEFA U-17 Euro 2013 – Semi-finals

14 May 2013

Russia – Sweden
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Gregory Crotteux (BEL)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Slovakia – Italy
Referee: Nerijus Dunauskas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Storey (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Fourth Official: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

UEFA Europa League Final 2013: Kuipers (NED)

The UEFA Referees Committee announced the referee for the 2013 UEFA Europa League final between SL Benfica and Chelsea FC, to be played at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday at 20:45. The match will be handled by 40-year-old Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers, who has been an international referee since 2006. He took charge of the 2011 UEFA Super Cup game in Monaco between FC Barcelona and FC Porto and also officiated at two UEFA EURO 2012 matches. In total, Kuipers has presided over 15 UEFA Europa League (including former UEFA Cup) fixtures to date, one of which was this season – the round of 32 return leg between Liverpool FC and FC Zenit St. Petersburg. He has also officiated at 25 UEFA Champions League games since the 2006/07 campaign, as well as taking charge of the 2009 UEFA European U-21 Championship and 2006 U-17 finals. At the final in Amsterdam, Kuipers will be assisted by his fellow countrymen Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra. The fourth official will be Felix Brych from Germany and the two additional assistant referees, Pol van Poekel and Richard Liesveld from the Netherlands. A Dutch reserve assistant referee – Berry Simons – completes the refereeing team lineup. Kuipers is the first referee to officiate in a UEFA club final in his home nation since Italy's Tullio Lanese in the 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup final in Bari. (Source: UEFA)
15 May 2013
Benfica – Chelsea
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Additional AR 1: Pol van Boekel (NED)
Additional AR 2: Richard Liesveld (NED)
Fourth Official: Felix Brych (GER)

Reserve AR: Berry Simons (NED)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Halsey ready to retire

English Premier League referee Mark Halsey is set to retire at the end of the season and is in discussions to release what could be an explosive autobiography on his time in the game, according to TalkSport.
Halsey, who won his battle with cancer to resume his career as a top-flight official, has been involved in a number of high-profile incidents this season. It is believed that this intense level of scrutiny may have played a role in his decision. The 51-year-old made a complaint to Greater Manchester police last September after he took charge of the Manchester United v Liverpool clash at Anfield. Halsey received abuse on Twitter following his decision to send off Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for a dangerous challenge on Jonny Evans, and his awarding of a late penalty that enabled Robin van Persie to seal the victory for United. Halsey also came under fire once again after he failed to send off Wigan's Callum McManaman following his knee-high challenge on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara in a Premier League fixture in March.
Referee Mark Halsey, who takes charge of probably his last match, Fulham v Liverpool on Sunday, infuriated his employers by the way he announced his retirement this week. Referees are required to give three months notice to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited before quitting. But they did not know that Halsey was hanging up his whistle at the end of the season until he made it known at a midweek training camp at St George’s Park, less than 24 hours before BT Sport unveiled him as their referee expert for their football coverage. It has further angered PGMOL that Halsey originally denied he was writing a book. Yet, The Referee is being promoted on Amazon, with a publication date on November 1, telling Halsey’s account of the ‘joy and pain and highs and lows’ of being a top-level referee and his fight against cancer. The book has a forward by Real Madrid’s Chelsea-bound manager Jose Mourinho, who describes Halsey as the only referee he likes.

Source: ESPN / Daily Mail

Damon: “I was mentally drained”

Jerome Damon was a referee at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in his home country: South Africa. Just one year later he did not pass the fitness test for international referees. Damon talks about his injury, refereeing in South Africa and more in an interview with Dutch Referee Blog.
- How did you become a referee?
- The first thing that I should be sharing with you is that I never played competitive football in my life. I used to tag along with my friends to the field to be the supporter or water-boy until one day the appointed referee did not honour his appointment. They then approached me to referee – I agreed on condition that they understood that I was not a referee. I enjoyed it so much and have not stopped since that time back in 1988.
- What was your best experience?
- It is very difficult to pinpoint just one experience. Every match for me has had a unique special memory. Maybe one day when I sit down to pen my thoughts, a special one would surface, but for now it cannot be narrowed down to one.
- You are not on the international list anymore. Why?

- The 2010 World Cup marked almost eight years of continuous travel and intensive training. In July of 2011, I ran the fitness in Johannesburg and just did not have any gas left in the tank; even though I was physically ready, I was mentally drained and so I just walked off the track after five laps of the High Intensity test. In September I went for the re-test in Malawi, where we ran on a sand track – on lap 2 I felt a sharp pain in the left hamstring. I immediately stopped and when I got home the physio confirmed what I had thought – a torn hamstring. That put me out of the International list for 2012. In the summer of 2012, during the same test in Johannesburg, for the 2013 International list, the same hamstring injury flared up again. I only started our domestic season in September of 2012 after that injury. As we speak in this interview, I am still weighing up my options of my international future.
- What are your refereeing goals after you already officiated at a World Cup?
- As I have indicated before, I am still weighing up all my options, as I am still actively refereeing in South Africa. I, however, do see myself active in serving the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA at administrative level in the refereeing department – instructor, referee inspector, match commissioner. Maybe even at the Referees Committee level, if they need me.
- How would you describe refereeing in Africa?
- The Elite Referees in Africa are on par with the rest of the world (I experienced that at both World Cups 2006/2010), but the World does not see African match officials in that light. That is a shame – this was made very clear in 2005, when I refereed a WC 2006 Qualifier match in Croatia (Croatia - Iceland). I know for sure that both teams wanted to know why FIFA appointed African match officials, asking if European officials were not good enough.
- And how is refereeing in South Africa compared to refereeing in other continents or maybe even other African countries?
- As I have mentioned before, I think we can hold our own compared to the best on the field of play; however, we still have a long way to go administratively. The biggest difference between South Africa and the rest of the world is that, in most countries, refereeing is headed towards a professional structure, while in SA all of our match officials in the highest league are amateurs; most have day jobs, whilst a large majority is unemployed. We are however headed in the right direction – just recently South African Football Association and the PSL, our professional league, came to an agreement that the next step for refeereing is a professional structure. In Africa – maybe like in the rest of the world – referees are the last people that National Associations take care of. We are expected to deliver a top class performance week-in-and-week-out, often at our own costs.

Source: Jan ter Harmsel / Dutch Referee

UEFA U-17 Euro 2013 – Group Stage (Matchday 3)

11 May 2013

Group A
Austria – Switzerland
Referee: Nerijus Dunauskas (LTU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Sergei Vassyutin (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Fourth Official: Neil Doyle (IRL)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Sweden – Slovakia
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Silver Koiv (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Minic (SRB)
Fourth Official: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Group B
Ukraine – Croatia
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Birkir Sigurdarsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralovic (SVK)
Referee Observer: Jan Fasung (SVK)

Italy – Russia

Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Gregory Crotteux (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Storey (NIR)
Fourth Official: Vladimír Vnuk (SVK)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)

Referees are not always aware of racist incidents

Referees are on the front line in the fight against racism, but cannot always be expected to be aware of what is going on off the field, said referee Howard Webb.
Webb took part in the first meeting of FIFA's anti-racism task force and said that one suggestion was the use of off-pitch officials to help referees identify serious incidents. "We are very much in the front line, we are the first port of call for the players", Webb told Reuters after the meeting which he described as a "brainstorming" session. "If we become aware of anything from the players or officials which they deem to be racist or discriminatory, then we've got an obligation to respond and referees will do that". But he said that, ideally, referees needed help to take the pressure off them. "We talked about the limitations because you are not always aware of what's happening in the stands", he said. "Bear in mind that what we do as match officials is to shut the crowd out really, because we're trying to concentrate on the game itself, we are trying to focus on our job and not get distracted. Therefore, it's a fair comment to say it's not easy to know what's happened". He added: "The point was made this morning and...there was a discussion about maybe someone having a specific role of just identifying those types of behaviour, (someone) who has a good understanding of what constitutes a discriminatory act within the stadium, and can therefore guide the match official. It could be something like a venue coordinator, (it) could be someone in the stand, who could take the best position to get a feel for what's going on. It could be they have to move around the stadium to get a feel for what's happened, but it would take some of the pressure off the match officials".
Three-step procedure
European soccer's governing body UEFA issued guidelines four years ago outlining a three-step procedure of what to do in case of racist incidents during matches, putting the onus heavily on referees. It said that the referee should first stop the match and ask for announcements to be made over the public address system. The second step would be to suspend the match for a given period of time and, finally, abandon it. So far, those rules have not been invoked in European club competition and in March, UEFA said it would "fully support" referees who enforced them. "Why that procedure has not been invoked, I don't know," said Webb, adding he had not been involved in a match where he felt it necessary to stop play. "Maybe (it's) because there's an educational requirement needed for referees to make them aware it does exist. We need key indications to the officials of what they can do and can't do, and what they need to do should something come to their attention". Webb was involved in an English Premier League match at Swansea City in December where Norwich City's Sebastien Bassong complained to him about racist abuse from a man in the crowd. The man was arrested and later charged. "It worked really well on that occasion", said Webb. "It might be that racial gestures in the crowd are brought to the attention of the referee by the players, but it is possible that we would not identify it when we are concentrating on the job that we are there to do".

Source: Yahoo Sports

UEFA U-17 Euro 2013 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

8 May 2013

Group A
Austria – Sweden

Referee: Neil Doyle (IRL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Storey (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Gregory Crotteux (BEL)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralovic (SVK)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Slovakia – Switzerland
Referee: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Birkir Sigurdarsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Group B
Russia – Croatia
Referee: Nerijus Dunauskas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergei Vassyutin (KAZ)
Fourth Official: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)
Referee Observer: Jan Fasung (SVK)

Ukraine – Italy
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Milan Minic (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Silver Koiv (EST)
Fourth Official: Vladimír Vnuk (SVK)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)

FIFA Confederations Cup 2013

Brazil, 15-30 June 2013

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Bakhadyr Kochkarov (KGZ, 1970)

Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (JPN, 1972, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Toru Sagara (JPN, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Toshiyuki Nagi (JPN, 1971)

Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (ALG, 1970)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG, 1981)

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: William Torres (SLV, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zumba (SLV, 1982)

Referee: Diego Abal (ARG, 1971)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG, 1979)

Referee: Enrique Osses (CHI, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergio Roman (CHI, 1969)

Referee: Felix Brych (GER, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER, 1977)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER, 1978)

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED, 1977)

Referee: Pedro Proenca Oliveira (POR, 1970)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Cunha Miranda (POR, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Tiago Garcias Trigo (POR, 1972)

Referee: Howard Webb (ENG, 1971)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG, 1970)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Cann (ENG, 1969)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013

Turkey, 21 June – 13 July 2013

Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Hassan Kamranifar (IRN, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Reza Sokhandan (IRN, 1974)

Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BAH, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Tulefat (BAH, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Ebrahim Saleh (BAH, 1974)

Referee: Benjamin Williams (AUS, 1977, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream (AUS, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Hakan Anaz (AUS, 1969)

Referee: Neant Alioum (CMR, 1982)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Peter Edibe (NGA, 1970)

Referee: Noumandiez Doue (CIV, 1970)
Assistant Referee 1: Songuifolo Yeo (CIV, 1970)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI, 1972)

Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Angesom Ogbamariam (ERI, 1971)
Assistant Referee 2: Felicien Kabanda (RWA, 1971)

Referee: Roberto Garcia (MEX, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Camargo (MEX, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morin (MEX, 1980)

Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Leonel Leal (CRC, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Gerson Lopez (GUA, 1983)

Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN, 1970)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN, 1977)
Assistant Referee 2: Keytzel Corrales (NCA, 1980)

Referee: Antonio Arias (PAR, 1972)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR, 1984)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Caceres (PAR, 1983)

Referee: Victor Carrillo (PER, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Cesar Escano (PER, 1970)

Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Rocha (BRA, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA, 1972)

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Humberto Clavijo (COL, 1973)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Diaz (COL, 1973)

Referee: Carlos Vera (ECU, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Byron Romero (ECU, 1980)

Referee: Peter O’Leary (NZL, 1972)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Hintz (NZL, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Ravinesh Kumar (FIJ, 1982)

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR, 1973)

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Warnmark (SWE, 1974)

Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabor Eros (HUN, 1971)
Assistant Referee 2: Istvan Albert (HUN, 1980)

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (FRA, 1969)
Assistant Referee 1: Frederic Cano (FRA, 1973)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Annonier (FRA, 1972)

Referee: Milorad Mazic (SRB, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristic (SRB, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjevic (SRB, 1973)

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA, 1971)
Assistant Referee 1: Renato Faverani (ITA, 1969)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Stefani (ITA, 1969)

Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Zunic (SVN, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Ul (SVN, 1970)

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabanero Martinez (ESP, 1981)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Del Palomar (ESP, 1976)

UEFA will record talks between match officials

UEFA president Michel Platini wants match officials' conversations in European matches recorded after a controversial goal in the Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Thomas Muller appeared to foul Jordi Alba before the German side's third goal in their 4-0 first-leg win. "I don't believe nobody saw the foul. Why was nothing said? I want to know! I have asked the General Secretary to record conversations between match officials in all matches involving five officials", Platini (photo) said during a visit to the northern French city of Lille to check on preparations for the Euro 2016.
The Europa League was the testing ground for games using five officials, which saw two additional assistant referees standing behind the goals and communicating by headset. It has since been extended to Champions League matches and Platini says he wants to know why fouls were still being missed. The 57-year-old Frenchman said: "I understand the error of the referee who didn't see the foul by Mueller. But there were three international referees involved and none of them saw it. Something is not right. If the referee was on his own, he wouldn't have seen it, and two might not have seen it either, but, between three, they have to see it". Platini did, however, reiterate his opposition to using video evidence, insisting that the implication of such technology would be too expensive.

Source: BBC

Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 (Second Leg)

8 May 2013

Atletico Mineiro – Sao Paulo
Referee: Roberto Silvera (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Fourth Official: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Referee Observer: Edson Resende (BRA)

Fluminense – Emelec
Referee: Victor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Johny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Cesar Escano(PER)
Fourth Official: Henry Gambetta (PER)
Referee Observer:Armando Marques (BRA)

Nacional – Real Garcilaso
Referee: Carlos Amarilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquinos (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Mario De Vivar (PAR)
Referee Observer: Gustavo Lopes (URU)

American referee died after being punched by teen player

An American soccer referee who slipped into a coma after being punched by a teenage player during a game a week ago died Saturday night, police said. Ricardo Portillo, 46, of Salt Lake City passed away at the hospital, where he was being treated following an assault, police said. Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card.
"The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call," spokesman Justin Hoyal said in a press release. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Hoyal said authorities will consider additional charges since Portillo has died. Hoyal said an autopsy is planned. No cause of death was released. Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and had been listed in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. The victim's family, which publicly spoke of Portillo's plight this past week, has asked for privacy, Hoyal said.
Johana Portillo, 26, said last week that she wasn't at the April 27 game in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, but she said she's been told by witnesses and detectives that the player hit her father in the side of the head. "When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him," she said. Accounts from a police report, Portillo's daughter and others further detail what occurred. The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when Ricardo Portillo issued him a yellow card for pushing an opposing forward trying to score a goal. The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then punched him in the face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance. When police arrived around noon, the teenager was gone and Portillo was laying on the ground in the fetal position. Through translators, Portillo told emergency workers that his face and back hurt and he felt nauseous. He had no visible injuries and remained conscious. He was considered to be in fair condition when they took him to the Intermountain Medical Center. But when Portillo arrived to the hospital, he slipped into a coma with swelling in his brain. Johana Portillo called detectives to let them know his condition had worsened. That's when detectives intensified their search for the goalie. By Saturday evening, the teenager's father agreed to bring him down to speak with police.
Portillo's family said he had been attacked before, and Johanna Portillo said she and her sisters begged their father to stop refereeing because of the risk from angry players, but he continued because he loved soccer. "It was his passion," she said. "We could not tell him no".
The now-deadly attack is just the latest disturbing example of aggressive action against referees going far beyond the realm of what is even remotely acceptable. Perhaps the most disturbing attack in the USA before the Taylorsville tragedy came in Florida in 2011, where a group of players and coaches violently attacked a referee at a Sarasota youth football game.
One can only hope that the lessons from this attack - and the subsequent jail time that the teen in question is likely to serve - will provide ample deterrent for future athletes and parents who struggle to contain their emotions in the midst of what is just a game, even if similar incidents in the past haven't succeeded in doing so.

Source: AP/CTV

UEFA U-17 Euro 2013 – Group Stage (Matchday 1)

5 May 2013

Group A
Slovakia – Austria
Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Silver Koiv (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Dmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Fourth Official: Nerijus Dunauskas (LTU)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Switzerland – Sweden
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Sergei Vassyutin (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Fourth Official: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Group B
Russia – Ukraine
Referee: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Gregory Crotteux (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Minic (SRB)
Fourth Official: Vladimir Vnuk (SVK)
Referee Observer: Jan Fasung (SVK)

Croatia – Italy
Referee: Neil Doyle (IRL)
Assistant Referee 1: Birkir Sigurdarsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Storey (NIR)
Fourth Official: Vladimir Vnuk (SVK)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)

Merk: “More eyes see less!"

Former FIFA World Cup referee Markus Merk regrets wrong decisions in the Champions League and is particularly critical of the additional assistant referees and the development of refereeing.
The UEFA Champions League, affectionately called “elite class”, has been affected by the performance of referees in a serious crisis. There were and will always be wrong decisions wherever there are human mistakes. I know how mistakes are made and how bitter they feel. But UEFA referees never were in as much criticism and the wrong decisions have never been so blatant, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
The Hungarian Viktor Kassai was one of the best in his profession and he was elected the world’s best referee in 2011, but his errors in the game Bayern – Barcelona were striking. He was very toleratnt with Pique’s handball, Gomez’s offside goal should have been seen as well as the handball by Alves and the resulting penalty. We are talking about the highest level, the pinnacle of the European football. Since it is difficult to understand Muller’s hockey-style bodycheck before Robben’s 3-0 goal, I do not believe in the viability of the refereeing sextet.
There is hardly a game without a serious error. Borussia Dortmund's winning goal in the previous round against Malaga will remain in our memory since the players were caught offside twice. But the opening goal, the Spaniard was also in an offside position. Poetic justice? No, two errors! In this series of blunders also joined the German team led by Wolfgang Stark. The same as Kassai, one of the best referees in recent years, he became uncertain after Euro 2012 and the series of wrong decisions ran like a red thread through his season and led to massive criticism and a protest of FC Barcelona after his performance in the quarter-finals at Paris St Germain. But even in games without German participation, there were a lot of surprising errors by the referees. Thus, the Norwegian referee Moen refused a clear penalty to Galatasaray in the quarter-finals in Madrid and thus the supposedly important away goal. He cautioned their star striker Burak Yilmaz for diving and, because of that, he was missing in the return game. Previously, Real were already beneficiaries, in the second round at Manchester United, where they brought an exaggerated red card for Nani and headed Alex Ferguson in a rage. Enough! Why are these mistakes?
More eyes see less! Since 2009, UEFA introduced referees 5 and 6. They should be not just goal judges, but "additional assistant referees" and support the main referee in decisions. I have always commented this step with great skepticism. Most errors or non-decisions happen in the penalty areas, where one is relying on the other, expelling their responsibility. This decision is all in the worlds, personally and professionally. In daily life, this is sometimes correctable, but referees must take quick decisions. Kassai and Stark are exemples of victims of this innovation. In this form, the model of “goal judges” clearly failed.
Since 2006, there has been a structural change in refereeing. Referee training has been streamlined, while individuality and personality were suppressed. Incidental training rituals have become more important as standardized error-minimizing rule interpretation and important solutions (interpretation of the handball, double punishment for denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities in the penalty area, etc.) are not competently corrected. As long as it goes mainly for personal positioning and less about professional development in the football federation’s levels, this will not improve. Too bad for football and the "elite class".

Source: Markus Merk /